I think back to summers in the Pacific Northwest when I was growing up, and they were filled with glorious sunny days that rarely reached above the low eighties. Summertime is idyllic around here after the long months of gray and wet, and everyone takes full advantage of the few short months of perfect weather.
The last few years though, wildfires around the region have been so bad that our air quality in August is terrible, and it seems likely this will be our new normal as we continue to have awful fire seasons. Last August we escaped to Lopez Island for a long weekend during the worst of it, but were staying put this year because we’ve been eating up our vacation time like candy.
I keep wondering at what point we will take climate change seriously to a level that sees real widespread change, but it seems sometimes that day will never come. When I was younger, I expected that as soon as we experienced real negative effects associated with climate change we would get serious in realizing that we have to take care of the one planet we have, but as I’ve gotten older I’ve gotten more cynical as it seems like people are content to ignore problems no matter how bad they get. And really, not being able to breathe when you go outside for long seems like a pretty dang big problem. <end rant>
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Friday’s Frugal Five
1. Thanks to our camping trip this past weekend, we had a no spend day on Sunday. We seem to almost never have weekend days where we don’t spend at least a little money, so it felt really good to log one in the books this past week. I love this idea to mark no spend weeks on a chart to get a sense of how many weeks we’ve done well on that front. I think I may need to start doing this myself because I’m really motivated by seeing long term trends of success. No spend days have been so important to reigning in my small impulse purchases, and I wonder how much our spending fluctuates month to month depending on the number of no spend days we have.
2. A friend of mine just had a baby last week and didn’t have any infant sized cloth diapers, so I told her I would mail the ones I had at home. She already cloth diapers her older child, but overestimated the ability to use one size fits all diapers with a newborn as she didn’t start using cloth until after that point the first time around.
I could have made some money selling my stash of newborn diapers online, but I much prefer gifting things to friends whenever possible. Another mama friend of mine gifted me a few cloth diapers when I was pregnant with my son, and it was such a big deal for me to receive them – both for the cost savings but also the validation of what is still a pretty alternative choice. Cloth diapering has been an easy, wonderful journey for us in reducing the waste related to having a child, and I want to encourage other parents to at least try them out; they really aren’t as hard as you’re made to believe.
If you are looking to use cloth diapers, my favorite newborn cloth are Kissaluvs and GMD workhorse diapers with covers. For one size, my favorites are Thirsties and Bumgenius. You can also find great deals online for gently used diapers, and I’ve found that any friends who already cloth diaper are likely willing to pass on their stash to see that they continue to get used.
Is there any interest in a cloth diapering specific post in the future? I know it’s a pretty specific thing, but I think I have a pretty good level of understanding after more than three years at it.
3. I managed to have two round trip car free commutes this week! This was a combination of carpooling with my husband (he dropped us off near preschool), biking, and taking the bus. Lime Bike has been a great help in getting around more quickly than just via bus and my own two feet, but I’m rapidly approaching the decision to buy myself a bike. Perhaps I need to do an analysis of how many times I’d need to ride it for it to pay off financially, and whether it makes sense to pay the premium to get an e-bike. (Last minute update: THREE round trip car free commutes this week thanks to a schedule adjustment today, Friday).
4. I had a friend over for dinner on Monday night after she reached out to me about getting help with her finances. I’m impressed with how much time she took to really pull together all her expenses and income so we could have a deep look at where she’s at, and she’s really on the track to get herself in a much better financial situation very quickly. I love helping people with their finances, and I love that this blog has made it so friends feel comfortable coming to me to talk money.
5. I deposited my quarterly Ebates check this past week: $54.42! Cash back sites may not make me rich, but I’m all for getting a little bit of extra money for purchases I would be making regardless. In previous years, the money I received from Ebates would just go into my checking account and then disappear on whatever I ended up spending it on with no real intentionality. Now, I deposit that amount, rounded up to the nearest $5, immediately into long term savings. It’s really the little changes that can add up to big ones over time.
If you haven’t signed up for Ebates yet, here is $10 to get started. As always, know yourself, and sign up for this kind of program if you will be disciplined to use it only when you are making a purchase anyway – not because of the online shopping coupons that encourage you to spend more.
I didn’t run this past weekend since we were camping, but I had decent step count days regardless because of the trip. I’d like to find a way to run on these camping weekends, but when we stay in locations without a shower, it’s probably best that I don’t. I ran inside all week (Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday) thanks to the awful air quality outside, and I’m missing my outdoor runs. I did get in a short weight lifting workout on Wednesday as well and a bit of biking, but outdoor activities have been really limited. Once the air is clear again, we will be spending a LOT of time outside. (Another side note: Thursday afternoon and I’ve seen blue sky for the first time in more than a week. Fingers crossed we’re past the worst of it and it doesn’t just show back up again next week)
How’s the air quality where you are at? Any tips for getting through long weeks when spending time outside isn’t an option?